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White Wolf – The End of an Era - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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July 21st, 2010


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02:19 am - White Wolf – The End of an Era
I've recently read the two new White Wolf books – The Mage Chronicler's Guide, and World of Darkness – Mirrors, and was very impressed with both of them, but also sad. Both books say they are the last print books of their line, and from what I've seen (and the fact that neither I nor anyone I know well has had any writing for from White Wolf for a good while), we're looking at no more than a trickle of books. While I still miss Mage: The Ascension, I found a lot to love in the new World of Darkness, especially some of the nWoD books, Mage, and Changeling. Mage took a while to get going, but became very cool indeed, and most of the nWoD and Changeling books were excellent I like White Wolf's approach to rules, their style of setting material, and the general feel. At this point, I'm far from certain that they'll ask me (or for that matter, any other freelancer) to work for them again, simply because the fact that they are owned by CCP, an MMORPG company, and this is clearly the direction they are headed in – with the upcoming World of Darkness MMORPG. I'm also sad by the fact that the last Exalted book will soon be published. I worked on it, and it was very cool, but also rather sad, and sadder to know that other than a few additional tidbit, Exalted is done, and AFAIK, it won't even get an MMORPG. It's a fascinating setting, and I'd love to see more done with it. I'd especially love to see it adapted to a considerably less rules heavy system – I played and enjoyed the 1st edition of Exalted, but the 2nd edition rules were far too annoying and overly complex for me to use – any Exalted that I ever play again will continue to either use 1st edition or an even simpler homebrew hack.

Of late, I've managed to get my own writing back on track – I'm not getting paid as much as I was for White Wolf, and there's a bit less work, but I'm continuing to have work and have 3 companies that I'm working for or will soon be working for – all of which are well regarded. Also, I'm working on nifty projects. There will be more Eclipse Phase writing soon, and Sunward: The Inner System will be published very soon indeed, and I'm currently writing about magical computing in the 1950s & 60s, which is pretty darn nifty. However, I miss Exalted & the World of Darkness. For that matter, I miss Mage: the Ascension and Trinity.

As a side note, because I'm just that geeky, one of my hobbies to take a break for my paid work is to do unpaid RPG writing. Over on RPG.net coridan had been discussing an adaptation of Mage: The Ascension to the nWoD setting & rules (essentially, the nWoD as is, but with Mage: the Ascension rather than Mage: The Awakening, but using the rules from Mage: the Awakening. So, he put up a wiki, and asked me to help, and I then proceeded to write around 80% of the material there. It's not done, but I think it's pretty cool - take a look and decide for yourself. It's fun, but not as much as an official project. So it goes…
Current Mood: sadsad

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:scholargipsy
Date:July 21st, 2010 12:06 pm (UTC)
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This news makes me very sad as well: White Wolf's ascendancy and my own early adulthood dovetailed perfectly: I remember snagging the very last copy of first-edition Vampire: The Masquerade from the shelves of The Compleat Strategist in Manhattan a few days before my twentieth birthday. Never in my life has a game so compelled me to immediately gather close friends and start a campaign. Yes, it was all florid and overwrought and perilously stuffed with clichés -- that's why it was so fresh and so brilliant back in 1991.

I've bought, read, and/or played nearly all WW's games since then, and while my own regular gaming habit is sadly moribund at present, I still think much of my identity as an amateur maker of worlds, stories, and characters was informed by WW's oft-mocked methodology. They've always stood for the notion that RPGs could be art, and even if tugging on such a thread eventually led to horrors like Ron Edwards, I never disagreed with that essential contention.

Well, the games are still there, and they're all still perfectly playable -- all of them. That's cause for happiness, at least.
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From:heavenscalyx
Date:July 21st, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
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Ditto. I had many problems with WW over the years, but I bought (and still have) the first edition of Vampire: The Masquerade within a week of its release, and had a campaign running in another week. I didn't love Werewolf or Mage as much, but I played on a Werewolf MUSH for several years and wrote for Mage, and even wrote a bit for Wraith.

The WoD was my escape from a rather nasty and frustrating life at the time, and it also made it possible for many more women to get into gaming than I'd ever encountered previously, so for the first time in my life, I didn't feel quite so isolated as a woman gamer.

Just as I say about JK Rowling -- Rowling isn't a brilliant writer by any stretch of the imagination, but she made a generation of Western children read -- White Wolf's original games weren't brilliant, but they were a very different perspective on gaming, and that perspective has informed a generation of gamers and writers, expanding the gaming industry and making some people think differently about gaming in general.
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From:edwarddain
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
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White Wolf's original games weren't brilliant, but they were a very different perspective on gaming, and that perspective has informed a generation of gamers and writers, expanding the gaming industry and making some people think differently about gaming in general.

Yes!
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From:edwarddain
Date:July 21st, 2010 01:58 pm (UTC)
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I agree about 2nd Edition Exalted - too much of a pain! I tried playing it with Da Boy (my 13-year son) and it fell kind of flat. So now I'm running Call of Cthulhu for him and I bought him Dark Heresy and he's running it for me.

I still like to read Exalted for the flavor text though.

I have to admit that I haven't bought anything in the new WW-verse, I'm just not willing to spend any money on it - and as much as we liked the system for our modern occult game, we decided that we just needed to look for something else because it was a bit too broken for most people. So we've been looking at Supernatural (too rules-lite we think) and Dresden Files (possibly too setting-specific), and maybe even Witchcraft/Armageddon (just thought of this the other day actually, still need to chew on it) as the engine we'll adapt in some way.

I think that part of the problem with being a long-time gamer is that you see more things that you love morph into things that hate or that just simply wither up and die - and there is a constant desire for many of us to buy/try the new thing. What happens is that then, if we stick with the old things we love we end up isolating ourselves from other gamers to a degree - because at a certain point they may never have heard of what we're playing...
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From:sara_super_id
Date:July 21st, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
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Oh that is so true! There are some oldies but goodies that folks don't know about. For example, I like Champions and Steampunk. But we just don't play them anymore--oh well.
[User Picture]
From:edwarddain
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
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My gaming group consists of my husband (43), myself (41), my slave (23), a couple in their late 40's and a guy in his late 20's - and we were just talking about Champions the other day.

The younger folks had no clue - and of course the jokes about comics being where you read about superheros on paper instead of watching them on a movie screen flew fast and furious.

But I love Traveller and Cyberpunk 2020 - and while Traveller has managed to survive and even thrive after the collapse of GDW, the abomination that is Cyberpunk 203X is a bad dream for most people.

And my fantasy game has been a home-brew for years now - I stopped playing AD&D when I realized what 2nd Edition was turning into.
[User Picture]
From:sara_super_id
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
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My group is a bit younger, but we were trained by people in their late 50s and early 60's now. I am 30 now, and I have been role playing since I was 12. But the old games get handed around and when you find out about one you like, you seek out a used copy and viola, a game lives on :)
[User Picture]
From:rickj
Date:July 21st, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I miss White Wolf too. I hope that they do more tabletop stuff once they get the MMO off the ground.
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From:heron61
Date:July 21st, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
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I definitely agree. My guess is that they are assuming that an MMO will makes lots more money than tabletop RPGs, and if that's not true, I'm hpoing that they'll revive their tabletop lines.
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From:sara_super_id
Date:July 21st, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
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That makes me sad too. I am currently playing in an Exalted game, and I think we will keep using the system even if no new books come out. It is a very rich and exciting world to play in.

Home brews are always possible, and we usually scale back some of the rules to make it easier.
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From:kynn
Date:July 21st, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
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that's a shame. :(
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From:mikkop
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
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Yes, sad news. I have my problems with (n)WoD, but it's still shocking to see it end.

I only own a couple of basic line books, Mage: the Awakening basic book and all Changeling: the Lost stuff, so I feel like I contributed some. It's just that I don't *need* to buy the books that much.

I saw a CCP employee in a con a couple of weeks ago, and asked about the White Wolf - CCP merging. Perhaps it was my optimistic view, but I got the impression that WW is doing well. That was wrong, obviously.

Of course the fact that I shell out 10 euros a month to play EVE Online makes me feel somehow even sadder. I would've liked to have *both* MMOGs and RPGs. Not that anything prevents me from playing the games I already have, but I still like to at least read new rpgs to get new ideas from.
I should've bought more WW stuff, but that wouldn't have helped, really.

(Current idea: running somewhat high-powered Changeling: the Lost using the new HeroQuest rules...)

[User Picture]
From:amberite
Date:July 21st, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
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AFAIK, it *was* doing well as far as gaming companies go - the new owners just threw over what they had in pursuit of something "Bigger And Better"(tm).

I'm personally predicting their MMO to do great for the next few years and then taper off... because its success will be dependent on people knowing about their tabletop games.

Sometimes, there is just not enough facepalm in the world.
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From:mikkop
Date:July 22nd, 2010 08:13 am (UTC)
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Well, yeah, I think WW has been the second of RPG companies, far behind WoTC, of course. SJ Games were a competitor some years ago but seem to have moved on to Munchkin.

CCP is probably the best company to bring out a new game and keep it sustained - with EVE they have brilliantly gone way other than the billionth WoW clone which means that they have a player base who know that there's something else than WoW. EVE has been going on for over 7 years and it's still strong - and they are introducing new, interesting stuff continually.

Also, EVE makes it easy to roleplay. I could go on about this, but won't in other people's blog comments. :)

I'm waiting for the WoD MMO with slight enthusiasm. If they manage to make it as open-ended as EVE, it will be good. They might even be able to do it while catering to the minmaxers so they'd have an economic base, too.

Still, you're probably right there that a tabletop game, or several, would easily generate more players for the MMO, too. D&D players are probably more keen to play WoW, anyway...
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From:kadath
Date:July 21st, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
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I wasn't fond of nWoD--I don't think WW had been firing on all cylinders since the late 90s. And I kind of like "dead" systems, at least ones that had a good run. It means I can catch up on the whole thing.
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From:krinndnz
Date:July 30th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC)
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I'm also sad to find out about this - the old World of Darkness was a big chunk of my imaginarium during my late teens.



I'm also curious as to what you disliked about the transition from 1E Exalted to 2E Exalted, because what you describe is the opposite of my experience, which is that 2E Exalted, in terms of mechanics, is superior to 1E Exalted in every way I care about, and almost every other way. (I'm not super happy about the story, but I care about that far less because it's always a starting point, not Word of God)
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:July 30th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
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There are two reasons. The less important one is simply that I dislike the entire idea of social combat - I find it intrusive and (especially to the degree that it was modeled on physical combat) silly. However, the big problem was the combat system - to me it's overly complex and exceptionally slow. I'm an immersive player who doesn't have much use for heavily gamist combat systems, and even less use for ones that run quite that slowly. 1st was too slow for my taste, but the few times I tried 2nd it was ponderous and counter-intuitive. It felt too much like playing Champions back in the 80s.
[User Picture]
From:heronblue
Date:August 3rd, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC)
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A friend of mine is looking into running Exalted using the Fate system instead of White Wolf's system. Fate is a very bare-bones system with few rules and a lot of flexibility, and it lends itself well to slightly over-the-top sorts of games, a category I'd put Exalted in. I'm looking forward to playing Exalted without the horribly clunky 2nd edition rules, though I've only ever used Fate for pulp games before.

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